Eurostat First Report on Short Term Rental
The European Union Statistics Office (Eurostat) has published the long-anticipated data on Short-term rental accommodation in 2020. The ISCF attended the EHHA conference in Malaga at the end of October and the top of the agenda was the EU Review of Self-catering which they call Short Term Rental. The EU is actively developing a Short-Term Rentals registration system and many of you will have completed and submitted a survey document on Short Term Rental ahead of the 13/12/21 deadline.
Commissioner Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the tourism industry, a key sector of the EU’s economy. Like other European industries, the future of tourism will hinge on our collective ability to transition to a greener, more digital, and resilient future. By 2030, Europe should be a top-quality destination known globally for its sustainable offer, and attracting responsible and environmentally conscious travelers.”
The EHHA (European Holiday Homes Association) and the ISCF will be taking part as the only Irish Representative body at the EU table on this EU-wide Register Short Term Rental on developments. The ISCF is also taking to Government Departments and Failte Ireland about the Irish National Register. If you are a member of the ISCF, your details are already in the National information. The European Parliament will be busy with the legislation plan in the First Quarter of 2022.
What is the Collaborative Economy
The collaborative economy refers to the large Online portals (Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group, and Tripadvisor) after they agreed to exchange data with the European Commission (Eurostat). These large sellers of owners rental accommodation have had a significant impact on the tourist accommodation market in the past decade.
It does not refer to smaller regional suppliers who specialize in an area or specialist offering. In the Irish market, it does not give a full picture as a result. This data focuses on national, regional, and city-level data on guest nights spent in 2019. The most recent data, covering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the short-stay accommodation sector. The Irish regional agents are not referenced in these statistics and the Irish regional website for all self-catering LetsGoSelfCatering.ie was launched in November 2021 it is not included in this article.
Facts on Guest Bookings in the EU in 2020
In 2020, guests spent around 272 million nights in short-term rental accommodation in the EU booked via Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group, or Tripadvisor, representing a decrease of around 47% compared with 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic. While guest nights slightly increased in January and February 2020, compared to 2019, the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns in March 2020 brought touristic travel close to zero in April and May (-93.2% in April and -85.6% in May, compared to April and May 2019).
After many countries eased traveling restrictions in the summer of 2020, the number of nights spent recovered, whilst still being much lower than in 2019 (-38.3% in July and -25.8% in August). However, the arrival of the second wave of the pandemic in autumn/winter 2020 led to another severe impact on booking numbers towards the end of the year (-71.8% in November 2020).
First Data on Collaborative Economy Platforms
The short-term accommodation market was hit unevenly across Europe in 2020, with countries such as Spain (-58.1%) and Italy (-60.2%) affected more severely than France (-25.0%) or Germany (-20.6%). Eight countries (Czechia, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Slovenia and Iceland) registered falls of more than 60%.
Regional data shows that traditional summer destinations around the Mediterranean Sea, as well as big cities, were hit much harder than the European average. Major urban tourism destinations such as Rome (-78.0%), Barcelona (-75.6%) or Prague (-73.5%), lost around three-quarters of guest nights in 2020, on these platforms
The breakdown of guest nights by the origin of the guests shows that domestic tourism only fell moderately (-6.7%), while international tourism shrunk by more than two-thirds. Countries such as Spain, Italy or Croatia, which in past years had very high shares of international guests (67.7%, 74.1%, and 95.4% respectively), were affected much more severely than for example France or Germany, where the shares of international guests were much lower (42.7% and 36.9%). In these countries, some regions actually experienced an increase in the number of guest nights.
In Ireland, the number of International guests was minimal in 2020, due to a lack of access to Ireland. In Denmark, the borders were completely closed to German and other EU guests for most of the summer of 2020. The domestic consumers were the main market for Irish Self-Catering owners, and many bookings were direct and last minute. This was partially due to the late cancellation of overseas bookings, which put a lot of strain on the Self-Catering owners and agents.
Conclusions of The ISCF on the EU Commission Report
Commission publishes first Statistics on Short Stay booking accommodation via Platforms on 16/12/2021. The Commission stated that it aims at publishing further data on short-term accommodation rentals provided by these platforms for 2020. They will offer useful inputs for policymakers and will feed into the process of co-creating a transition pathway for a more sustainable, innovative, and resilient tourism ecosystem.
The ISCF believes that the Self-Catering market is changing in a major way due to Covid, not all reflected by the major 4 international portals referred to by the EU statistics.
- Due to Covid 2020 was not a normal booking year, with almost all domestic guests at Self-Catering holiday houses. This trend may continue while the Covid pandemic continues.
- The Collaborative Economy report on Short Term rental does not reflect the multitude of Irish Agents, regional and direct booking sites.
- Domestic Consumers are booking more often directly with the property owners, which gives reassurance to owners and clear details on all people staying in a house.
- Booking directly with owners is normally cheaper as the portals charge from 10- 25% on top of the basic rate, charged by the property owners.
- Discounts for direct bookings and last-minute bookings have become a major part of the self-catering market since 2020, and we have to see if this will continue. The lead time for bookings has also gotten much shorter as the Covid variants are unpredictable.
- Direct booking with owners can be impossible on the Portals mentioned at the start of the article, as these portals do not allow direct contact with the owners. But if you choose a region of Ireland, go past the advertised sites you will get directly to the Irish providers. The LetsGoSelfCatering.ie is the new national site, replacing an older site that did not allow for direct bookings with the owners. No commission is charged to consumers on this site, and it benefits owners as it charges an annual membership of the National Federation only, rather than a per booking charge.
- This site allows owners to post their Terms and Conditions of booking for their property, which most portals do not allow.
- The 2022 season looks like another abnormal year with some villages booked out by family groups for the summer of 2022. There is still a lot of availability and it is clear that Self-Catering holidays combined with outdoor activity are the most popular and safest way to holiday for extended family groups. ORosj consumers have the opportunity to book accommodation for the summer of 2022 in rural areas of Ireland, in the Ancient East, Hidden Heartlands, and Wild Atlantic Way regions. There is still a shortage of Self-Catering accommodation in urban areas, due to the Rent Pressure Zones, and this will affect family holiday choices for cities.
Research your holiday plans for 2022, discuss the Irish options with extended family members, get booking after Christmas 2021 directly with the owners. If the Covid Epidemic settled down there will be a very quick take-up of Irish holiday homes, as there is much greater air and sea access to Ireland in 2022. The vaccine certification of all citizens will allow for much greater movement in the EU for citizens. It may still be much safer to stay in Ireland for multi-generational family groups and friend groups in the spring and summer of 2022.